News from Small Sat
As NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory prepares its first two interplanetary cubesat spacecraft for launch next year, engineers are examining what other solar system missions such spacecraft could perform and the key technologies needed to enable them.
Much of the recent attention devoted to small satellite launch opportunities has focused on the wave of dedicated launch vehicles under development. A presentation at the conference Aug. 10 by Carlos Niederstrasser and Warren Frick of Orbital ATK identified more than 20 such vehicles, from the existing Pegasus and Minotaur 1 to concepts still in the early design phase
NASA expects to award a contract for dedicated launches of cubesats by the end of September, an agency official said Aug. 10.
The head of Air Force Space Command said Aug. 10 that while he sees clear benefits to small satellite systems, he expects the military to follow the lead of commercial developments.
Small satellites are a big deal in Logan, Utah. The city hosts the 29th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites on the campus of Utah State University Aug. 8-13, attracting more than 1,000 people for several days of technical sessions and networking events to discuss satellites weighing from a few hundred kilograms down to just one kilogram.